Germany impressed against Argentina while Spain stumbled to victory over Paraguay last time out but which team is going all the way to the final?
Spain must change
If the European Champions have any serious intentions about winning this competition then they need to change the way they play. Most of the parts seem to be in full working order, there’s just one problem: Fernando Torres. Don’t get me wrong, the Liverpool striker is a phenomenal talent but playing him in this system is like asking Brett Favre to play wide receiver. A switch is necessary, either in tactics or personnel, for Spain to break down the German defense.
David Villa saved Spain’s bacon yet again on Saturday. The quarter final had no lack of drama. First Iker Casillas saved a penalty. Then Xabi Alonso scored one, only to be forced to retake it and then subsequently miss. Even the winning goal saw the ball hit the post on multiple occasions before finally going in. If Spain can ride its luck against Germany then I like Villa to add to his goal tally by scoring at +125 with Sports Interaction.
Believe in Bastian
Bastian Schweinsteiger continues to defy injury and my expectations by leading Germany’s procession through the knockout stages. The midfielder is a front runner for the Golden Ball, which goes to the tournament’s best overall player, and will yet again be at the heart of everything Germany does on Wednesday.
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The security Schweinsteiger provides has allowed Mesut Oezil and Lukas Podolski to lead opponents on a merry dance around the park and create plenty of chances for Miroslav Klose up front. Expect yet another master class from the German captain on Wednesday.
A nation expects
Foolishly I tipped Germany to lose against England in the second round and Argentina in the quarter finals. How could I possibly do the German people a disservice by stopping now? It’s not just a desire for consistency that has me backing Spain in this game. Germany beat England and Argentina because they could expose huge tactical defensive flaws in both teams. Spain’s only real weakness is with how it uses its strikers and even there Vicente del Bosque has made moves to improve matters.
I expect Spain to maintain its basic shape with Torres likely coming out. Spain will either do a straight swap, with Fernando Llorente replacing Torres, or else Villa will move up front and Cesc Fabregas will fill the gap in midfield. With a strong defense and more lives than a cat, I like Spain’s chances of repeating its success over Germany in the 2008 European Championships.